George Bush, Jr., September 11th and the Rule of Law
from the book: "The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence
- Could The US War On Terrorism Go Nuclear?" by Francis Boyle,
(Clarity Press, April 2002) with an additional References section.
The hyperlinked version of this can be found at:
With all the stories being presented in commercial media by body snatcher/twilight zone types as so-called reality, it is deeply refreshing AND ESSENTIAL to study and remember how the world that has been defined by the Rule of Law, especially since World War II, has been affected by the United States government since September 11th.
Some key points in the following
- The case presented against bin Laden & Al Qaeda would not stand upin court of law and is acknowledged as such by the so-calledPowell/Blair white paper.
- 9/11 was not an act of war, which international law and practicedefine as a military attack by one nation state upon another nation state.
- The Bush Jr. administration simply ignored the 12 or somultilateral conventions already on the books that deal with various componentsand aspects of what people generally call international terrorism, manyof which could have been used and relied upon to handle this matter in a lawful, effective, and peaceful manner.
- The Bush Jr. war against Afghanistan in violation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 and the UN Charter of 1945 constitutes a Nuremberg Crime Against Peace. This provides yet another glaring example of precisely why the Pentagon and Bush Jr. have so vigorously opposed the establishment of an International Criminal Court.
- An act of war has a technical legal meaning: basically, a military attack by one nation state against another nation state. While thisis what happened on December 7, 1941, it is not what happened onSeptember
11, 2001. Nonetheless, immediately after September 11th, the Bush Jr. administration went to the United Nations Security Council in orderto get a resolution authorizing the use of military force against Afghanistan and Al Qaeda. They failed. Indeed, the Security Council resolution that was adopted, instead of calling this an "armedattack" by one state against another state, denominated these events "terrorist attacks." And again there is a magnitude of difference between anarmed attack by one state against another state, which is an act of war,and a terrorist attack, which is not. Again, terrorists are dealt withas criminals. Terrorists are not treated like nation states.Terrorists are dealt with by means of international and domestic lawenforcement.
Terrorists are not given the dignity of special status under international law and practice.
- The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence is an effective tool and a"must read" for the burgeoning anti-nuclear and peace movements, church groups, and lawyers defending anti-nuclear resisters. It should also prove instructive for the diplomatic community, and for civilian and military personnel who frame and carry out America's nuclearpolicies, who more than any must weigh the possibility of being summoned oneday before an international war crimes tribunal.
David Ratcliffe ratitor and publisher rat haus reality press http://www.ratical.org/rhrPress.html
__________________________________________________The following is reproduced with permission of the publisher, ClarityPress and can be found in the book, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence -Could The US War On Terrorism Go Nuclear? by Francis A. Boyle (April,2002). See http://www.bookmasters.com/clarity/b0018.htm for the Table ofContents listing and book reviews. The author's biography and a summary of thebook are included in the References section.
SPECIAL INTRODUCTION George Bush, Jr., September 11th and the Rule of Law by Francis A. Boyle
1 February 2002 from The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence
- Could The US War On Terrorism Go Nuclear?
Clarity Press, April 2002
* Machiavelli Redux * The Prostitution of NATO
* International Legal Nihilism * Bush Jr.'s Crusade
* 11 September 2001 * The U.S./UN Ambassador ofDeath
o The Facts * Nazi "Self-defense" Resurfaces o The Powell/Blair White Paper * Retaliation Is Not Self-Defense o The Cover-Ups * Choosing Violent Resolutions for o The Bin Laden Video International Disputes
* Framing a Response to September 11th * Humanitarian Catastrophe o Terrorism and the Law * Why War?
o The U.S. Policy Preference: * It's Still the Oil, Stupid!
o The U.S. Policy * How Empires Rule at Home Not Terrorism -- War o Bush Jr.'s Constitutional o The UN Security Council Coup D'?at
Disagrees: Terrorism, not War o Ashcroft's Police State o Bush Sr. v. Bush Jr. o Bush's Kangaroo Courts
* No Declaration of War from Congress o The Bush Jr.Withdrawal o The Infamy of Korematsu from the ABM Treaty o Instead, A Blank Check * Conclusion/Prologue to Use Military Force * Notes o Bush Sr. v. Bush Jr. Redux
* "Ending States"
* Honest Nuclear War-Mongering * References
George W. Bush was never elected President by the People of the United States of America. Instead, he was anointed for that Office by five Justices of the United States Supreme Court who themselves had been appointed by Republican Presidents. Bush Jr.'s installation was an act of judicial usurpation of the American Constitution that was unprecedented in the history of the American Republic. Had it occurred in a developing country, such a subversion of democratic process would have been greeted with knowing derision throughout the West. What happened in America could only be likened to a judicial coup d'?t inflicted upon the American People, Constitution, and Republic. There should now be no doubt that the United States Supreme Court is governed by raw, naked, brutal, power politics. Justice has nothing at all to do with it. This Supreme Court's constitutional sophistry proved a harbinger of the new administration's disrespect for the Rule of Law, whether domestic or international.
When Bush Jr. came to power in January of 2001, he proceeded to implement foreign affairs and defense policies that were every bit as radical, extreme and excessive as the Reagan/Bush administrations had starting in January of 1981. To be sure, Bush Jr. had no popular mandate to do anything. Indeed, a majority of the American electorate had voted for his corporate-cloned opponent.
Upon his installation, Bush Jr.'s "compassionate conservatism" quickly revealed itself to be nothing more than reactionary Machiavellianism -- as if there had been any real doubt about this during the presidential election campaign. Even the appointees to the Bush Jr. administration were pretty much the same as the original Reagan/Bush foreign affairs and defense "experts," many of whom were called back into service and given promotions for policies ten to twenty years ago that many might argue had been crimes under international law. It was d? v?l over again, as Yogi Berra aptly put it.
International Legal Nihilism
In quick succession the world saw the Bush Jr. administration repudiate the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the International Criminal Court, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), an international convention to regulate the trade in small arms, a verification Protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention, an international convention to regulate and reduce smoking, the World Conference Against Racism, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems Treaty, inter alia. To date the Bush Jr. Administration has not found an international convention that it likes. The only exception to this rule was its shameless exploitation of the 11 September 2001 tragedy in order to get the U.S. House of Representatives to give Bush Jr. "fast-track" trade negotiation authority so as to present the American People and Congress with yet another non-amendable fait accompli on behalf of American multinationals, corporations, banks, insurance companies, the high-tech and biotech industries, etc. The epitome of "globalization," American-style.
More ominously, once into office the Bush Jr. administration adopted an incredibly belligerent posture towards the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC), publicly identifying the PRC as America's foremost competitor/opponent into the 21st Century. Their needlessly pugnacious approach towards the downing of a U.S. spy plane in China with the death of a Chinese pilot only exacerbated already tense U.S./Chinese relations. Then the Bush Jr. administration decided to sell high-tech weapons to Taiwan in violation of the 17 August 1982 Joint Communiqu?f the USA and PRC that had been negotiated and concluded earlier by the Reagan/Bush administration. Finally came Bush Jr.'s breathtaking statement that the United States would defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by the PRC irrespective of Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution expressly reserving to Congress alone the right to declare war. President Jimmy Carter had long ago terminated the U.S.-Taiwan self-defense treaty.
For twelve years the Constitution and the Rule of Law -- whether domestic or international -- never deterred the Reagan/Bush administrations from pursuing their internationally lawless and criminal policies around the world. The same was true for the Clinton administration as well (such as invading Haiti; bombing Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Serbia). The Bush Jr. administration has behaved no differently from its lineal Machiavellian predecessors. Their bellicose handling of the 11 September 2001 tragedy was no exception to this general rule.
Indeed, the Bush Jr. administration proceeded to start its bombing campaign on the defenseless people of Afghanistan on Sunday, October 7 -- not allowing the Sabbath to get in their way either, despite the fact that during the presidential election campaign Bush Jr. proudly stated that his favorite philosopher was Jesus Christ. Yet, as Machiavelli taught, the Prince must appear to be "all religion," especially when he goes to war.
11 September 2001
The Bush Jr. administration's war against Afghanistan cannot be justified on either the facts, a paucity of which have been offered, or the law, either domestic or international. Rather, it is an illegal armed aggression that has created a humanitarian catastrophe for the twenty-two million people of Afghanistan and is promoting terrible regional instability. The longer Bush Jr.'s war against Afghanistan goes on -- and at this writing, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has stated that U.S. ground troops will remain in Afghanistan until at least the summer -- the worse it is going to be not only for the millions of Afghan people but also in the estimation of the 1.2 billion Muslims of the world comprising 58 Muslim states, few of whom really believe the Bush Jr.
administration's propaganda that this is not a war against Islam.
In fact, the Bush Jr. war against Afghanistan has been akin to throwing a match into an explosives factory. Among its deleterious results, India and Pakistan, which have already fought two wars before over Kashmir and today are nuclear armed, are now standing "nuclear-eyeball to nuclear-eyeball" over Kashmir. Mimicking the Bush Administration's response to September 11th, India has accused internal groups in Pakistan of the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, and demanded, without any offer of proof for its accusations, that Pakistan proceed against them or else face military reprisal. The continuing conflict and armed confrontation between India and Pakistan over Kashmir could readily go nuclear.
There is not and may never be conclusive proof as to who was behind the terrible bombings in New York and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001. No point would be served here by making a detailed review of the facts that have so far emerged into the public record. Suffice it to say that the accounts provided by the United States government simply do not add up.
The October 3 edition of the New York Times recounted the definitive briefing by a U.S. ambassador to NATO officials on the alleged facts as follows
One Western official at NATO said the briefings, which were oral, without slides or documents, did not report any direct order from Mr. bin Laden, nor did they indicate that the Taliban knew about the attacks before they happened.
A senior diplomat for one closely allied nation characterized the briefing as containing "nothing particularly new or surprising," adding: "It was rather descriptive and narrative rather then forensic. There was no attempt to build a legal case."
In other words, there was no real case against Al Qaeda, bin Laden, and the Taliban government of Afghanistan. Such was the conclusion of senior diplomats from friendly nations who attended the so-called briefing.
The Powell/Blair White Paper
Secretary of State Colin Powell publicly promised that they were going to produce a "White Paper" documenting their case against Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda organization concerning September
11. As those of us in the Peace Movement know all too well from previous international transgressions, these U.S. government "White Papers" are all too frequently laden with lies, propaganda, half-truths, dissimulation, disinformation, etc. that are usually very easily refuted after a little bit of research and analysis.
What happened here? We never received a "White Paper" produced by the United States government as publicly promised by Secretary Powell, who was later overridden by President Bush Jr. What we got instead was a so-called White Paper produced by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Obviously, Blair was acting as Bush Jr.'s surrogate or, as the British press routinely referred to him, "Bush's pet-poodle". Tony Blair is neither an elected nor an appointed official of the U.S. government, not even an American citizen. Conveniently, no American official could be brought to task for or even questioned about whatever errors or inadequacies he might purvey.
The Powell/Blair White Paper fell into that hallowed tradition of a "White Paper" based upon insinuation, allegation, rumors, propaganda, lies, half-truths, etc. Even unnamed British government officials on an off-the-record basis admitted that the case against bin Laden and Al Qaeda would not stand up in court. As a matter of fact, the Blair/Powell White Paper was widely derided in the British news media. There was nothing there.
Despite the clear import of the matter, at Bush Jr.'s request the U.S. Congress has so far decided not to empanel a Joint Committee of the House and of the Senate with subpoena power giving them access to whatever hard evidence they want throughout any agency of the United States government -- including the National Security Council, FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA -- and also to put their respective Officials under oath to testify as to what happened and why under penalty of perjury. Obviously a cover-up is underway for the express purpose of not determining (1) who was ultimately responsible for the terrible attacks of 11 September 2001; and (2) why these extravagantly funded U.S. "intelligence" agencies were either unable or unwilling to prevent these attacks despite numerous warnings of a serious anti-American attack throughout the Summer of 2001 -- and yet, amazingly, could assert the identity of those responsible with such certainty in the space of hours thereafter so as to preclude any serious investigation of other possible perpetrators. For reasons not necessary to get into here, there is also an ongoing governmental cover-up of the obvious involvement of the Pentagon/CIA, or one of their contractors, in the attacks inflicting U.S.-produced weapons-grade anthrax upon those institutional components of American society that the American right-wing has traditionally viewed with antipathy: the Democratic Congressional leadership, and the media.
The Bin Laden Video
The so-called bin Laden Video was miraculously discovered in the rubble of a bombed-out house in the bombed-out city of Jalalabad by the CIA, who undoubtedly turned the Video over to the Pentagon's Psyops People, who were operating in Afghanistan. The Pentagon then had the tape translated by "outside" experts, one of whom works at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had just been his boss as SAIS Dean. The SAIS/Wolfowitz translator has not been giving any interviews.
The text of the translation itself admits it is not a verbatim transcript, but only provides "messages and information flow," whatever that means. Admittedly the tape is disjointed and non-sequential. Since I am not a technical expert, I will not comment upon how easy it would be to falsify this video. I doubt very seriously that any fair, objective and impartial judge would admit this Video into evidence for consideration by a jury in a criminal case.
But let us put aside for the time being the long history of U.S.
intelligence agencies operating both at home and abroad in order to manufacture "evidence" that suits the party line coming out of Washington, DC. Let us further assume that everything in and about the bin Laden video is true and can be authenticated to the satisfaction of an impartial and objective international court of justice. Even so, the bin Laden video provided no evidence that implicated the Taliban Government of Afghanistan in the 11 September 2001 attacks upon the United States. The video provides no justification for the United States to wage war against Afghanistan, a UN Member State, in gross violation of the United Nations Charter. The fact that Afghanistan's dysfunctional former President Rabbani was left to occupy the Afghan "Seat" at the United Nations makes no legal difference here. The United Nations Charter protected the State of Afghanistan from aggression by the United States. Indeed, the Clinton administration had already negotiated with the Taliban government over letting it have the UN Seat as well as extending it bilateral de jure recognition in return, in part, for the construction of the UNOCAL pipeline across Afghanistan -- a negotiation from which -- ominously, in light of the onslaught to come -- the Taliban demurred.
Framing a Response to September 11th
Terrorism and the Law
So let us now turn to the law. Immediately after the 11 September 2001 attacks President Bush's first public statement characterized these terrible attacks as an act of terrorism. Under United States domestic law there is a definition of terrorism, which clearly qualifies them as such. To be sure, under international law and practice there is no generally accepted definition of terrorism, for reasons that are too complicated to explain in detail here but basically relate to that hackneyed aphorism that "one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter." Yet certainly under United States domestic law this qualified as an act or acts of terrorism.
What happened? It appears that President Bush consulted with Secretary Powell and all of a sudden they changed the rhetoric and characterization of these terrible attacks. They now called them an act of war -- though clearly this was not an act of war, which international law and practice define as a military attack by one nation state upon another nation state.
There are enormous differences and consequences, however, in how you treat an act of terrorism compared to how you treat an act of war. This nation and others have dealt with acts of terrorism before. Normally acts of terrorism are dealt with as a matter of international and domestic law enforcement -- which is, in my opinion, precisely how these terrible attacks should have been dealt with -- not as an act of war.
Indeed there is a treaty directly on point to which both the United States and Afghanistan are party: the 1971 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation, the so-called Montreal Sabotage Convention. Article 1(I)(b) thereof criminalizes the destruction of civilian aircraft while in service. It has an entire legal regime specifically designed to deal with this type of situation and all issues related to it, including reference to the International Court of Justice to resolve any disputes that could not be settled by negotiations between the United States and Afghanistan or other contracting parties. The Bush Jr. administration simply ignored the Montreal Sabotage Convention completely, as well as the 12 or so multilateral conventions already on the books that deal with various components and aspects of what people generally call international terrorism, many of which could have been used and relied upon to handle this matter in a lawful, effective, and peaceful manner.
The U.S. Policy Preference: Not Terrorism -- War
Instead, proving again the Bush Jr. administration's unwillingness to utilize international conventions which might require the submission of American power to external restraints, and thereby constrain rather than facilitate the realization of overt or covert American objectives, the Bush Jr. administration rejected this entire multilateral approach and called these terrible attacks an act of war. They deliberately invoked the rhetoric of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. It was a conscious decision to escalate the emotions and perceptions of the American people generated on September 11th, and thus dramatically escalate the stakes, both internationally and domestically.
The implication was that if this is an act of war, then you do not deal with it by means of international treaties and negotiations You deal with an act of war by means of military force. You go to war. So a decision was made remarkably early in the process to ignore and abandon the entire framework of international treaties that had been established under the auspices of the United Nations Organization for the past 25 years in order to deal with acts of international terrorism and instead go to war against Afghanistan, a UN member state. In order to prevent the momentum towards war from being impeded, Bush Jr. issued an impossible ultimatum, refusing all negotiations with the Taliban government, as well as all the extensive due process protections that are required between sovereign states related to extraditions, etc. The Taliban government's requests for proof and offers to surrender bin Laden to a third party, similar to those which ultimately brought the Libyan Lockerbie suspects to trial, were all peremptorily ignored.
Why such haste?
..................continued at any of the links below with extensive links to other sources at end of article...................
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